The staff at iAM Music have always thought big. The organization was only a couple of years old when they fired up the iAM Music Festival in 2015, and it quickly grew to encompass multiple days and multiple stages along Main Avenue. At one point, iAM had nine stages that hosted 28 bands, and the festival ran over three or four days. That huge schedule was a large undertaking for an event thrown by a relatively young organization, but they pulled it off to great success, and have done so every year since. This year, iAM is still four days of music, but the organization has changed things up so that those days will occur monthly through October, rather than over the course of one weekend.
The second day of the 2018 iAM Music Festival will be held Saturday, August 25, at 11th Street Station, and will feature the iAM Music Youth Band Sneeze, along with rock and roll country band Farmington Hill, Afro-Beat band Afrobeatniks, Albuquerque’s Baracutanga, and New Mexico electronic music producer Wavema.
One of the reasons for this change to the schedule is that it’s almost a guarantee that if you travel in the summer, you’ll miss a festival you’d otherwise want to see. That was a common complaint made to Jesse Ogle, one of the festival directors and founder and program director of the music school.
“So many people said, ‘I heard the festival was great, but I didn’t make it because I was out of town that weekend. I heard that so much. So, we are doing this so we can maximize numbers,” said Ogle. “The other thing is its really hard to put on a festival with 30 bands over three days with nine stages.”
Ultimately, iAM Music Festival is the same event, but with a 28 to 29 day break between sets, which could be a welcome rest for some of the people who practice questionable behavior at festivals. It’s also a better way to present the music, have sponsors get better bang for their buck, and it’s easier on the staff.
iAM is also a festival where the faculty can shine, as each festival has at least one band that features a faculty member. On Saturday, the faculty will be represented by Farmington Hill, of which Ted Moore is the drummer.
Headlining tomorrow is Baracutanga, a 7-piece band with music that represents the rhythms of South American, Middle Eastern, and Afro-Cuban music. They’re a dance band, ripe for the diverse representation of genres that reflect the mission of iAM Music. It’s also a mission that reflects the mission of the band.
“When a school has the opportunity to organize a festival, they have a role in what it is they want to showcase to, and on behalf of, the student body they represent. With a diverse lineup like that of the iAM Music Festival, it speaks a lot to the importance and striving of presenting diversity and culture in the modern teaching curricula,” said Baracutanga trombone player Micha Hood via email. “We’re glad to be a piece that students can be shaped with, and take with them into the future.”
The remaining iAM Music Festival dates are September 22 and October 20 at 11th Street Station, and will feature House of Stairs, Make Beats, and Street Blues in September, and Stillhouse Junkies and J. Calvins Funk Express in October.
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected]